LAMAR LUNDY |
THE MVP of both
the basketball and football teams at Purdue, the 6'?7" Lundy chose the NFL.
He was a mainstay with the Rams, playing 13 seasons at right end for the fabled
Fearsome Foursome defensive line. He took a job as an assistant with the
Chargers in 1971, but health problems cut short his coaching career. Said
fellow Foursome member Merlin Olsen, "He was the stabilizing force—Mr.
TOM JOHNSON |
Johnson was overshadowed by fellow Canadiens defenseman Doug Harvey; when
Harvey missed much of the 1958--59 season with an injury, Johnson won the
Norris Trophy. He also earned six Stanley Cups with Montreal and in '70 began a
three-year stint as the Bruins' coach. Johnson's hands-off style suited a team
filled with rowdy stars; Boston led the NHL in victories in '71--72 and won the
Stanley Cup—its last—the following season.
GERALD FORD |
Saturday Night Live impressions of his clumsiness notwithstanding, Ford was the
nation's most athletic president. A star center at Michigan, he turned down
offers from the NFL to become the boxing coach and a football assistant at
Yale. He soon enrolled at Yale Law School, starting down a path that would lead
him to Congress and the vice presidency; in '74 he assumed the presidency after
Richard Nixon resigned. Ford wasn't well-known when he entered the Oval Office,
but the world soon learned that he loved his golf, even if he didn't always hit
the ball straight. "It's not hard to find Jerry Ford on a golf course,"
Bob Hope once joked. "You just follow the wounded." Ford handled the
ribbing with his typical grace: "I would like to deny all allegations by
Bob Hope that during my last game of golf, I hit an eagle, a birdie, an elk and
EDDIE ROBINSON |
succumbed to Alzheimer's disease in April, Doug Williams, who played
quarterback for Robinson and then succeeded him as Grambling's football coach,
said, "He'd been fighting that battle for a long time. It was one of the
many he fought." The son of a sharecropper, Robinson was hired as the first
coach of the Tigers, in 1941. He had no paid assistants, lined the fields
himself and made sandwiches to take on road trips because his all-black team
often couldn't get served in restaurants. Still, Robinson turned Grambling into
a powerhouse. In his second season, with a team composed of 33 of the school's
57 male students, the Tigers held all nine of their opponents scoreless.
Robinson sent more than 200 players to the NFL; four of them reached the Hall
of Fame. Winning 408 games in 57 years meant that Robinson could rightly be
described as legendary, but the coach didn't see it that way. "I can't even
spell it," he said. "What I've done since 1941 has been more for [the
players] than for me."